I have Palestinian friends and acquaintances. That is the norm when you live in Efrat. Indeed it is the norm when you live in any location in Judea and Samaria (unaffectionately known as the “West Bank”).
Our local supermarket is located in Area C and I select my tomatoes and cucumbers standing next to Palestinian men and women who live in Bethlehem and Hebron. Unsurprisingly, most of these people are just like you and me. Many of them work in construction in Jerusalem or Beit Shemesh and earn more than twice what a Palestinian Authority employee (even a doctor) would earn in their own territory. This is the majority.
And then there are terrorists. They are not like you and me. They were mostly brought up in UNRWA run “refugee” towns and trained in terrorist skills during summer camps and fed hatred through Palestinian Authority textbooks that glorify past murderers of innocent civilians. That UNRWA even considers them refugees after 75 years is a direct result of United Nations antisemitism. Nobody, today, considers the millions of descendants of those 700,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries in the 1940’s and 1950’s as refugees.
What most people are unaware of is how the “good” Palestinians hate the terrorists. They despise them. However, they live in fear, in a terror state, the Palestinian Authority (PA). And the PA is funded by world governments to rule over the ten cities in the region and much of the land in between. The citizens of those 10 cities would prefer to run themselves under the protection of the IDF, but the presence of the PLO (the heavily armed PA army) is ubiquitous and feared. They unanimously describe the murderers of my family as “inhuman” and “not believing in Allah” when they see me. But only in private. A public statement would likely lead to them, and their families, being shot at in the street. And such shootings occur every day. These “good” Palestinians are the silent victims of PA terror.
Jenin has become a centre for such terror and the IDF is wise and brave to enter and eliminate it. The “good” Palestinians silently thank Allah for the operation, but they have little hope as the international funding of this terror state, which has no human rights (according to Freedom House 2023 data) and grants no freedom of speech, religion or right to vote, goes on and on.
When will the world wake up and realise that funding failed terror states is a crime against humanity? It is a crime against the Israeli victims and survivors, such as my family, and so many more, and against my two million Palestinian neighbours who just want to buy their tomatoes and cucumbers and live with us in Shalom.
Rabbi Leo Dee lives in Efrat with his three children and is the author of Transforming the World – The Jewish Impact on Modernity